Navigating in Japan on UMPC
Aloha from Hawaii -

Tried to search but maybe I missed some posts.......

I have had a Holux BT GPS receiver working w/ iGuidance software on an UltraMobile PC for a few years now, when traveling in N.America, and have been more than pleased with just basic direction & location. I am planning on upgrading to a very new (yet to be released) Viliv S5 UMPC, this one w/ internal GPS. I am sure I can either load the same iGuidance software or upgrade to a more current version and be fine domestically.

I am however traveling to Japan this summer and would feel somewhat naked without my GPS support. Is there any software company that supplies international maps? I have seen posts talking about Garmin related maps being available for Japan, but does Garmin supply software that can be tied to non-Garmin GPS receivers? Haven't seen anything that says a hybrid combo would work.

Is there anything I can do with Google Earth (for example) to get real-time locating, at the very least?

Appreciate any assistance.......Mahalo
Ken in Regina
Yes, Garmin makes software that will work with non-Garmin receivers. There is Mobile PC, which will be somewhat like your iGuidance in looks. There is also "nroute" which is quite different in looks.

There are issues that affect your particular planned use. It can be done but it takes a little technical fiddling. You should take a look through the Garmin Mobile PC section (available from the Laptop GPS World main index page). Place any specific questions in there.

Yes, you can use Google Earth. The latest version (version 5) allows you to use a GPS receiver for realtime tracking without having a paid subscription, as you needed previously for Google Earth Plus.

To use a laptop and GPS receiver with Google Earth and no internet connection, you need to get the maps for your area of interest into the map cache. I think it's about 2GB with GE v5, but don't quote me. That can be a tedious task. There may be utilities available to help load the map cache with less effort. You can check the Google Earth support forum on Google.

You can download GE v5 any time and try it out with your Holux receiver to see what you think.

You can use Garmin nRoute with non-Garmin GPS receivers but it requires GPS Gate (regular or Express) to translate the protocol. This would be the easiest solution. nRoute is a free download from Garmin but requires an istalled version of MapSource.

Unfortunately this approach would not allow you to add locked Garmin maps later. Locked Garmin maps require a Garmin GPS to unlock before they are usable in nRoute under any circumstances. Once unlocked they will work the same as above

Another approach would be to buy the software version of Garmin Mobile PC. It will work with a non-Garmin GPS and can accept non-locked maps. The downside is some of us have experienced difficulties making it see an internal GPS.

Thanks guys.....

I also was thinking about simply moving over to a G1 phone and use it's GPS and Google maps for location, but cellular roaming in a foreign country is outrageously expensive. Not certain about data, but voice is $2/min

I'm still studying this thing. Might be that the simplest would be to go native Garmin, either a Nuvi unit or a 60CSx (i think ?) type and load the available maps.
Ken in Regina
The first thing to do is see if you can find maps for Japan anywhere besides Google Earth. That might dictate the brand of GPS solution. I couldn't find anything for Japan on Garmin's site, so a Garmin solution would require that you find a source for Garmin-compatible maps.

If you decide to go handheld, be aware that there are huge differences between a Nuvi and the 60CSx. The Nuvi screens are big and bright. The user interfaces are totally different.

That's not to say that one is superior to the other. But with such huge differences you need to be sure you get hands-on with both devices to determine which will best fit your intended usage.

If you are willing to give up the big bright screen of a Nuvi and its touch-screen interface in order to get the "pocketability" of an "outdoor" handheld like the 60CSx, you might want to consider the eTrex Legend HCx. It has a very similar user interface, the same excellent performance and expandability and it doesn't have that antenna stub sticking up to catch on things. (I have the Legend HCx.)

Just some random thoughts.

Appreciate all of the input and suggestions.....still digesting it all.

I found this site: (only one so far) that is supposed to offer an English language map of Japan compatible with Garmin systems. What exactly it's compatible with and how to install it is a "foreign language" right now but I have seen your other post about working w/ GMPC so I have my homework.

I have not bought anything yet, and because of that, am not stuck on any particular make or model of GPS. Because the map link above is Garmin related, I am leaning in that direction, but luckily I still have time to hunt for all the available options. If you have any comments about this site and its maps, I would appreciate more of your random thoughts.

Ken in Regina
Read the List Of Limitations carefully. These are the limitations by comparison to a roadmap you would buy from Garmin. They are significant. If you don't understand what some of them are, or what they might mean to you, please ask.

They are being completely honest. The limitations they describe are based on the source of the map data they have access to and are not the result of incompetence or anything they have done to intentionally limit its usefulness. With the honesty they are showing about their product, if it suits your needs I would have no hesitation to deal with this site.

I don't read Japanese but this looks like a source for City Navigator Japan.

...ken... About